The Father Figure As He Should Be

The_Father_Figure_As_He_Should_Be The Father Figure As He Should Be

The father figure as he should be. St. Therese of the Little Flower speaking to her father.

The figure of the father is under attack these days. To those who insist upon total equality, he is seen as an overbearing figure who has long abused his power. Like all symbols of authority, he must be overthrown.

It is curious that whenever feminists wish to attack the father, somewhere in their long tirades, there will appear the word “patriarchy.” The mention of this word is not by chance. It echoes the core of the feminist creed.

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Ironically, those who are accused of defending patriarchy are usually members of nuclear families, not patriarchal ones. Many indeed are not even members of extended families. They do not have a notion of what patriarchy means and how it functions. And thus they are not in conditions to defend themselves against the feminist rage.

Embracing Patriarchy

Those who defend the family have no cause to fear the term and every reason to embrace it. When stripped of its non-Christian forms and feminist caricatures, patriarchy becomes a refreshing idea. Even today, the image of an ancient patriarch evokes sentiments of veneration and respect.

However, there is a reason why feminists attack patriarchy so violently: It represents the plenitude of fatherhood. It is the father figure as he should be. Such a vision is part of the natural hierarchical society that feminism rejects.

Understanding Patriarchy

The key to understanding patriarchy lies in the long forgotten idea of the traditional family. The Catholic Church has long taught that the family is not a single social unit existing in the present without connection to the past or future. Rather, the family is a rich and continuous whole that encompasses all those who have come before and will come after. Thus, each family becomes a vast network of interwoven relationships and is part of the social fabric.

Patriarchy is a natural consequence of the traditional family. It holds that since this vast social unit exists, there should be an authority that maintains its unity. This authority is usually the patriarch.

The influence of the patriarch extends beyond his immediate household and encompasses several generations. It might include several branches of the family, even an entire clan.

The patriarch does not exercise an arbitrary or tyrannical authority. Indeed, he exerts a unifying leadership over the whole that is expressed more often by influence than by command. He guides with great care and subtlety the interrelationships between so many people who are alike in so many ways but who are also so very different.

The Patriarch as Harmonizer

Thus one of the most important roles of the patriarch is to be a harmonizer. He maintains the family line in harmony with its past and future. He must strike a delicate balance between those in the family who guarantee necessary continuity and those who energetically introduce healthy innovation.

The patriarch is a true leader of the family. He has a special gift to discern and coordinate the general direction of those under him. He seldom imposes his will upon the others, but rather sets the tone and the example. He unifies and brings out the best in others.

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That is why traditionally the patriarch is portrayed as one who ponders things. He is judicious and weighs matters with criteria and acumen. He applies the family’s treasure-trove of wisdom which is preserved, enriched, and passed on from one generation to the next.

Source of Progress and Culture

It is easy to see that when society is filled with patriarchal figures on all social levels, it creates the ideal conditions for the true progress of a culture. The patriarch is what sociologists call a representative character who moves his family members toward goals of perfection in line with the family’s qualities and talents. When imbued with Catholic virtue, the patriarch moves his family members to the highest of all goals: their sanctification.

Such figures are sadly missing in today’s crumbling society. Individuals each go their way. There are no harmonizers or coordinators that unify families and direct their progress.

When attacked for being patriarchal, fathers today should embrace the idea. The patriarch only does on a larger scale that which the father is called to do within his family.

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There is nothing wrong with building a family thinking of the long term. There is nothing wrong with desiring unity and direction for those under one’s care. Rather than an undesirable condition to be avoided, patriarchy is an idea whose restoration time has come.

  • Robert John Bennett

    You write, and I agree, “Such figures are sadly missing in today’s crumbling society. Individuals each go their way.”

    That is of course a fine echo of Yeats’ lines:

    “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world….”

    A pessimist – or a realist – might say that this crumbling of society will continue until conditions are so bad that only men who know how to be real fathers and real father figures will be able to save the society.

  • disqus_xhoTljOoA4

    Eliminate the Father and you eliminate the Son, perhaps that’s the whole idea!

    • marlene

      interesting…God and government

  • Jeffrey JK Kelly

    Thank you for these inspiring words.

  • Timoteo S Honesto

    I asked this for the previous article and I ask for this one. Do you have this article in a DOC or PDF form, please? Thank you!

    • William

      Sure thing! If you could, please send your email to and I can send you the DOC form of the article.

  • Bill McC

    I was raised in the time and place, were family was everything. Being a mother, father, children, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We were a family that helped and loved each other and gather on holidays and special occasions.
    All that has changed for me. I married a woman that I loved and had three wonderful daughters. Unfortunately she was from a home, where commitment and loyalty was not understood. Her father was not highly respected in the family, justly or unjustly I don’t know. But I got to see how it destroyed a family and hurt my own. Her mom and dad divided and divorced. Her two brothers ended up divorced two times and married three times.
    She converted to being a Catholic but did not have the commitment or loyalty to stay with the church or our marriage, she went to another man when I was sick. She did not see loyalty and commitment in her life as a child or young adult and either did her brother’s. So I feel that they didn’t fully understand what commitment or loyalty was. I am fortunate I have a very close relationship with my daughters. But it push them away from aria to get away from the hurt of having their home divide and a place to come home to after college. Now they must go to two different places one to see their mother and one to see father and neither one is really a home. I hope and pray that this will not become away of live that is pass down into daughters lives.. The structure, of the family is very important and is missing so much in our society today. Being free is not being divided but choosing to be united.

    • Dennis Valenta

      There is a simple solution to reducing the number of people that Divorce. Satistically jurisdictions with equitable Divorce laws have lower Divorce rates than jurisdictions with un-equitable Divorce laws. So simply make all Divorce laws and their enforcement equitable and we will at least have less heart break

    • DKELforAmerica

      Thank you for sharing

    • Christy Read

      I hear ya man…I will pray for you. I recently saw a special on EWTN called “The Father Effect”…..I found it to be incredibly healing. As I had never had a healthy relationship….I always was attracted to someone like my dad- loving, mean, prepared to pay for stuff and kick you out of the house for being 18 or simply defending weed as opposed to all the alcoholics I had been forced to embrace because this is apparently acceptable behavior and money should be your focus….blab bla bla….for what is worth check it out on their you tube channel….and do your best to forgive your ex….she couldn’t give what she didn’t have….

  • R George

    Elimnation of patriarchy Is elimation of institution of family.This leadട to decay
    of Community. Society flourish Compli menting the one to the other, father and mother. A father who keeps the commandments of God, is a person., who is taking the place of Invisible God, for there children. He is an invisible power for the mother to bring up children in a loving family set up. He is a role model for the son and daughter to grow up in a healthiy way. This will help the daughter to see her future husband in her father. May the patriarchy be a dream for today’s Generation for a healthy society..


      Men need to be taught this again. Many men are dominated by the women in their lives including in the Church. Just look at how the women take over and run things. Men need to step up and take charge again and they should not be apologetic for it. It is a sad day that we have come to in society.

  • The disrespect for the father’s God given role in the family has to do with disobedience to God’s (Holy Spirit’s) commands in the Holy Scriptures concerning the roles for each member in the family as follows from the Douay/Rheims Bible c. 1914) :

    Gen 3:16: To the woman also He said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband’s power, and he shall have dominion over thee.

    Ephesians 5:21-33; Ephesians 6:1-4 RHE Bible Versions / Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible / Being subject one to another, in the fear of Christ. Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord: Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. He is the saviour of his body. Therefore as the church is subject to Christ: so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church and delivered himself up for it: That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: That he might present it to himself, a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church: Because we are members of him, body, of his flesh and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother: and shall cleave to his wife. And they shall be two in one flesh. This is a great sacrament: but I speak in Christ and in the church. Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular love for his wife as himself: And let the wife reverence her husband. Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is just. Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with a promise: That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest be long lived upon earth. And you, fathers, provoke not your children to anger: but bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord.

    1 Corinthians 11: 3: But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ: and the head of the woman is the man: and the head of Christ is God.

    Titus 2:3-5 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, sober, having a care of the house, gentle, obedient to their husbands: that the word of God be not blasphemed.

    1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

    The Apostasy (falling Away from the Word of God) prevalent in today’s “Christian” churches 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 and the spirits of Jezebel (Female control and counterfeit leadership) is infiltrating throughout the world, especially in the USA, are two of the Biblical Last Days’ prophecies in the Scriptures presently

  • Rose Charles

    There is evidence of what has happened to the children where fathers are missing. I grow up with a visiting father my family tried but it was difficult. Thank God for my Catholic upbringing, Catholic primary and secondary education, involvement in Catholic youth group etc. that I got a good grounding of what my faith entails. I was convinced that I would have a family the right way ,God’s way , if it was his wish. Today I am blessed with a caring husband and two teenage boys who has a good role model in a father. Thank God for those fathers who are being positive Christian role models to their children and others.

  • Anthony F. Mullen

    I start out every morning with the Miracle prayer by Fr. Peter Rookey on you tube with the specific purpose of blessings, protections and healing of my extended family and I suggest trying this to see if it brings as much peace to you as it does me:) Chorbishop Mullen

  • marybernadette

    As we know ,of course, the phrase “two wrongs don’t make a right” may apply at least in some cases, as to why “radical feminists” seek to destroy the “Patriarchy.” True Patriarchy comes from God the Father and His plan for the Human family. However, there have been many cases and is today, where fathers have been “cruel and abusive.” We know from the Book of “Genesis” that Eve’s punishment extending to the human race, was that her husband would tend to “dominate” her. This has more or less happened in “families.” When a man and woman co-operate with God’s Grace, the family “dynamics” are most Blessed.

  • Beverly Nasrallah

    The unfortunate move (even by churches) to embrace same sex “marriage” further erodes the family connections. Since two men or two women are incapable of producing their own offspring they pay others to create babies for them. This automatically separates those babies from at least one natural parent, thus ensuring an inherently dysfunctional family. While adoption is a wonderful option in cases of unplanned pregnancy by a young woman unable to support her child, adoption should not be the go-to option to try to create a family from two non-creative partners.

  • jeromel

    Catholics writers and pundits can say all they want about it, but never, never, never, “Wives obey your husbands.”

  • Bailey

    Feminism is based on a lie.
    The world is matriarchal and always was.
    The centerpiece of every society is the family home– the realm of the woman.
    The man leaves the home to provide for the home in his realm– the patriarchy.
    Feminism denigrated women’ s realm as being beneath her and coaxed her into the men’ s realm leaving the most valuable place on the planet– her home, her children, her community, her family, her neighbors abandoned and hired total strangers that she looks down on because they do work that she wouldn ‘ t be caught dead doing, to care for her one true treasure– her family. For what? To have some stranger pat her on the back for selling Kool Aid and making his family richer while her children wonder why Mommy loves Kool Aid more than us.